The monastery of Panagia Stiliani and a Venetian Castle stands guard over Nisyros’ capital and port, Mandraki. Walk along it’s narrow alleys, lined with flower pots and charming cobblestoned squares (the most significant one is Delfinion (Dolphins) Square). Pay attention to the two storeyed, white or multicoloured houses with wooden balconies; they are made out of volcanic rocks and pumice-stone. Enjoy the subtle nightlife in numerous seaside cafe-bars or head to Loutro baths known for its mineralised sodium-chloride and sulfur spring waters that reach a maximum of 46o C.
This fishing village, 4 km from Mandraki, is the seaside counterpart of the mountainous town Emporios on the eastern side of the island. It’s home to a wonderful sandy beach as well as a marina where private boats moor. At a short distance don’t miss the popular beaches of Gialiskari and Lies.
Emporios village stands out for its houses’ architecture; it is built on a mountain 500m above sea level, located 8 km south-east from Mandraki. Enjoy the green surrounding landscape, take a break to quench your thirst in the town’s traditional cafe or drink in the view towards the caldera and the valley of the volcano, as well as Profitis Ilias Church.
Visit the cave located at the entrance of Emporios; because of the island’s volcanic activity it gets hot and resembles a sauna. Moreover, walk up to the medieval castle of Pantoniki with its breathtaking view and to Taxiarchis Church with some remarkable murals and icons to see.
This magnificent town built 400m above sea level has a stunning view of the Aegean. Stately houses, pastel coloured doors and tiled roofs make the village a picture perfect setting. Visit one of the most beautiful churches in Greece, Eisodia Theotokou (Entry of Virgin Mary to the Temple), located at the central square of the village, Porta. This oval-shaped, pebbled-floor square was designed by Paschalis Paschalakis, a renowned local 19th c. craftsman. See also the monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologian (celebrated on September 26th) and the 17th c. Monastery of Panagia Kyra.
Take part in the most significant celebration on the 15th of August, Koimisi tis Theotokou at Panagia Spiliani church, where locals start preparing from August 6th. On the same day and nine days after the 15th of August, Panagia Kyra Church holds a feast on the 23rd for the Virgin Mary. A big feast is held in Mandraki on the 14th of September, celebrating Stavros; here you’ll enjoy braised kid with orzo (kritharaki), loukoumades (greek type of donut sprinkled with honey) and wine. More celebrations to take part in are: Agios Nikitas on the 21st of June, Agion Apostolon on the 30th of June, Agios Panteleimonas on the 27th of July and Agios Ioannis on the 26th of September.
During your stay in Nisyros make a point of visiting the Volcanological Museum, housed in an old school in Nikia, on the rim of the Caldera, where you will learn everything about Greece’s volcanos, see how Nisyros was created and admire volcanic rocks.
Climb up to Palaiokastro, near Mandraki, the ancient acropolis of Nisyros with the cyclopean walls awaiting you. It’s an imposing, well preserved ancient structure that offers breathtaking views.
Last but not least, if you are into hiking, Nisyros has a large number of trails to explore, connecting the villages. The best time of the year to hike the island’s trails is spring, when the wildflowers bloom and the hillsides turn into a colourful display!